It went to a deciding rubber in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin in the Europe/Africa Zone Group II second round tie between Latvia and Monaco. Despite being 2-1 down following the doubles rubber, Latvia’s singles players Ernests Gulbis and Andis Juska both sealed victories on the final day to put the visitors into September’s promotional play-off tie against Finland.
World No. 55 Gulbis dropped just three games in his straight sets rout of Benjamin Balleret, who had scored Monaco’s first point on Friday with a win over Juska. Juska then lead Jean Rene Lisnard 26 64 61 3-0 when the veteran Monagasque retired with a left thigh injury.
Finland, who won through to the next round following a 3-0 scoreline on Saturday, concealed its first point of the weekend in the first dead rubber and the final score ended up being 3-2 when the visitors gave a walkover in the fifth.
Radu Albot put Moldova within a whisker of promotion to Europe/Africa I after he saw off Bosnia/Herzegovina’s Damir Dzumhur in a mammoth five-setter which lasted four hours 13 minutes. Just eight ranking spots separated the two players but it was Albot who prevailed, clawing back a two-set-deficit much to his team’s delight. The Moldovans will face Portugal in September after they completed their 5-0 drubbing of Lithuania.
Benin, Hungary and Estonia all face relegation to Group III in 2014, and will be joined by the loser of Tunisia v Belarus, which will be decided by a fifth rubber after Malek Jaziri won his singles rubber to keep Tunisia in the hunt for survival.
To view the full results from Europe/Africa Group II, click the relevant link below
Ireland 2-3 Finland
Monaco 2-3 Latvia
Bosnia/Herzegovina 1-3 Moldova
Portugal 5-0 Lithuania
Bulgaria 3-0 Estonia
Tunisia 2-3 Belarus
Hungary 1-4 Luxembourg
Cyprus 3-2 Benin